January 27, 2007
Massachusetts College of Art
Office of Admissions
621 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
Dear Admissions Director:
I am pleased to write a letter of recommendation in support of Mike O’Toole’s application to the Massachusetts College of Art. Since March of 2000, when I first met Mike, he has impressed me with his knowledge, creativity, wit, and flexibility. It has been a pleasure to work with and learn from him.
As both the government and later the education channel coordinator at NewTV, Newton’s community television station, I had the opportunity to work with Mike on several occasions. Early on, he volunteered as a production assistant on the City’s summer concert series – a multi-camera shoot with a large crew. As part of the team, Mike helped with the setup and breakdown of all the equipment and served as one of the principle camera operators. During the shoots, he would suggest camera shots and angles, which might have been overlooked, but which ultimately improved the overall production. As the technical director, I was grateful to have his perspective and initiative. His instincts were right on.
Mike also volunteered on numerous studio productions, including programs for the library, the public schools, the mayor’s office, and Newton’s legislators. He helped in the control room with everything from graphics to audio to teleprompter, always giving input and feedback. It was great having Mike as a crew member, because he was willing to do whatever was needed. His flexibility and sense of humor often came in handy with last-minute changes or mishaps. His ideas for enhancing the program, such as a set design adjustment, made a huge difference.
When Mike asked me about doing an internship in 2004, I agreed without hesitation. One of his first projects was to edit an art exhibition using Final Cut Pro. His choice of shots, transitions, and music brought the various still images to life. The artist was moved by Mike’s fresh and innovative approach, and so were the viewers. Recognizing his editing skills, I asked him to teach and assist other student interns on Final Cut Pro.
During the summer of 2004, Mike volunteered to join other high school and college students in creating and producing All Over The Map, a half-hour magazine show. During pre-production, he brainstormed and collaborated with the other students, sharing many ideas, which were later incorporated into the final program. In addition, Mike participated in several studio shoots, teaching some of the new students how to operate the equipment in the studio and the control room. During post-production, he was one of the principle editors. He also secured the music used in the opening from a local artist. In 2005, the program received the NewTV Red Carpet Award of Excellence for best education channel production overall. That summer, All Over The Map received the First Place Hometown Award for innovative programming from the National Alliance for Community Media. Mike’s contributions, once again, had proven to be invaluable.
As a result of his hard work and dedication, NewTV has hired Mike to teach Final Cut Pro and help members and interns edit their projects. Given his many talents, I think he will do very well at Massachusetts College of Art and later in the communications field. I recommend Mike with the greatest possible enthusiasm. Thank you for your consideration.